This evening Minnesota United will face off with weirdly enough another (partially and kind of) Minnesota owned team in the (partially) Wilf owned Nashville SC. This is the first ever meeting between United and Nashville in any competition as SC has only existed as a professional team since 2018. Those first two seasons were played in the USL Championship. And while Nashville is an expansion side, that status really hasn’t shown on the team so far here in this odd 2020 season.
Run of Form:
Heading into tonight’s clash with one of the new kids on the block MNUFC’s overall record in their last five has not changed since their match with FC Cincinnati just a few days ago. While the Loons have the same 1-2-2 record in their last five, what has changed is how the team looks in that span of time. Minnesota has allowed only five goals, have scored five, and pitched two clean sheets in that span of time, both of those coming in their last two matches.
Nashville SC actually comes into tonight’s match with a slightly better record in their last five going 2-1-2 in that span. Both of Nashville’s last two matches have been draws, going 1-1 against Houston Dynamo and 0-0 against New England Revolution. At 17 points, the team from the Music City are sitting in the 10th and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs race.
We all know that Adrian Heath has not been a fan of the short turnaround times Major League Soccer has required of him and his squad in 2020. And in all fairness I’m not really sure anyone is a fan of the situation, especially MNUFC fans who have seen the team struggle with injuries since the MLS Is Back Tournament ended. However the views on Nashville are quite the opposite as the expansion side has impressed.
“I think they’ve done well. They’re very well organized, they’ve got an experienced team. Like us, they’ve got a few injuries at this moment in time, and I think we’re all going to be in the same boat. It’s going to be as much mental as it is physical. The fact that you’ve got yourself up in 36 hours, now you’re next day preparing for another game. We know it’s going to be tough, they’ve done well of late. We know it’s going to be a tough challenge but one if we play as well as can we’re more than capable of getting a result.”
Nashville SC manager Gary Smith also emphasized the need for players to stay healthy with such a congested schedule but also noted his teams mentality is good after taking a point on Saturday.
“The recovery of the players, we’ll do everything we can to get them in the right place,” Smith said. “No doubt in my mind it’s a lot easier to turn around on Tuesday having put in a performance like they did and earned points than it is if you get beat and there’s lots of questions. They’ve had a week off, there’s some lumps and bumps, but I’m sure they’ll be in the right spirits for Tuesday.”
For (at least) one week I’m changing this from Players to Watch due to the amount of changes coming in from MNUFC. Heading into tonight’s match with Nashville there are changes a plenty coming for the Loons. Ethan Finlay is no longer listed as out or questionable so we could be seeing a return by the Duluth native to the lineup anytime soon. Ozzie Alonso is once again listed as questionable after not being on the injury report on Saturday. Heath addressed Alonso in the pre match presser stating:
“We’d like to get Ozzie fit, if we can, for next weekend but we’ll have to make one or two changes because we can’t expect the same group to go every three or four days.”
Along with that Ján Greguš will be out for the next 6-8 matches depending on quarantine procedures. With the International break happening, the first since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Slovakia have exercised their clause to bring him back. This means that Alonso’s return is that much more important as the earliest we could expect to see Greguš back is November 1st against Sporting Kansas City and the latest could even be for a Western Conference Quarter-Final playoff match in Mid-November.
- Questionable: Greg Ranjitsingh and Ozzie Alonso
- Out: Tyler Miller, Ike Opara, and Luis Amarilla
- Out: Jimmy Medranda, Ken Tribbett, David Accam, Dom Badji, Daniel Rios, and Anibal Godoy